Beginners Guide to Maximising Rewards.
Welcome to the beginners guide to maximising rewards. Before we start, do you remember your first time? Mine was in 1992 on a Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore. I was a frequent flyer …..
When I started my business travel, I loved the idea of earning ‘miles’ that I could exchange for free flights. Unfortunately, I did not have a strategy and had a lot of points over a lot of different programs. I guess my points use efficiency must have been around 30%. Then one day, I had a eureka moment … what if I suck to one airline program and booked my flights with its partner airlines? Surely, then would be more rewarding!
So there it was, I signed up to a Star Alliance airline and within a few months, I was at the top tier, free upgrades, lounge access and more miles than you could shake a stick at. As far as reward credit cards, I had an Amex Platinum, but in the UK, I cannot remember any other reward credit cards at that time.
So fast forward to today, I have a solid rewards and points strategy and will share it with you ….
Information is King.
Bookmark PointsGuru.uk and sign-up to our newsletter to keep up to date on offers and deals that will help you maximise your points earning and redemption potential. Remember, information is King!
Sign-up to airline and hotel loyalty programs.
Every time you board a plane or check in to a hotel, there is potential to earn points towards free flights, upgrades and stays. However, to be in a position to receive these points, you must be a member of the necessary loyalty program.
Take a moment or two to think which loyalty programs you should join. Where do you normally travel and which airline services these locations, where do you normally stay and again, which hotel chains have hotels there. For airlines, you could choose British Airways Executive Club, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club or maybe a Start Alliance airlines program. For hotels, popular hotel loyalty programs are Marriott Bonvoy, IHG or Hilton Honors.
Start to look at the rewards you get from different programs and the values of the rewards. Not all rewards programs are made equal. 5000 points or miles on one program maybe worth half that of another.
So armed with this information, sign-up to the loyalty programs that best suit your needs. Remember, when you make your travel bookings, fill out the loyalty program number on the booking page. If the company does not know your loyalty program number, then they cannot credit you with points. This is especially important when make hotel reservations as there maybe a room upgrade waiting for you at check-in. Whilst you should concentrate on using your core programs, do not miss out on points if you are unable to fly or stay at your preferred airline or hotels. Join their program.
Sign-up to a reward credit card.
Reward credit cards, in particular airline reward credit cards are an excellent way to boost your miles balance on a day to day basis, especially with the generous sign-up bonuses that are available. Free and fee based cards are available with the fee based cards giving the best miles per £ reward, in addition yearly spend bonuses are available such as 2 for 1 vouchers ans upgrades.
When collecting points or miles, you need to maximise the amount you collect and there value. To do this, you should use your rewards credit cards for all your purchases and set aside the equivalent amount in your bank account to pay off your bill in full each month. If you start paying interest on your spend, the true value of you points will decrease.
Both American Express and Virgin Atlantic allow you to carry out an eligibility check prior to applying for a credit card. This will show you chances of being accepted without affecting your credit file.
Also, see our article on the Best UK Reward Credit Card for pros and cons prior to applying, however above all, make sure the card you apply for meets your requirements.
Get a Tesco Club Card
The Tesco Club Card is a great way to top up your Avios or Flying Club miles by exchanging your vouchers. What makes Tesco Club Card stand out over other shopping reward programs, is that the vouchers can be exchanged for Avios or Flying Club Miles, at £2.50 in vouchers for 600 Avios or 625 Flying Club, receiving 1p in vouchers for every £1 spent in store. This equates to 2.4 Avios per £1 or 2.5 Flying Club miles per £1, which makes it one of the best ways to clock up Avios or Miles.
If you pay for your Tesco shop with your Virgin Atlantic Reward+ or British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card, you receive and extra 1.5 Avios / miles per pound spent from the credit card rewards. This would give you a total of 3.9 Avios or 4 Flying Club miles per £1 spent at Tesco if you combine Club Card and Credit Card rewards.
Use shopping gateways.
Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have shopping gateways where you are rewarded with Avios or Flying Club miles by making purchases through their shopping gateways. Shopping at BA’s eStore or Virgin’s Shop Away is a great way to boost your miles for doing something you would have done anyway. Combine this with using your reward credit card to make the payment and you will give an additional boost to you miles.
Please see our features on eStore and Shop Away with example of the rewards you receive from the partner retailers. Hope you found the ‘Beginners guide to maximising your rewards’ and hope you have a prosperous rewards journey.